Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Do dogs see dead people?

On Labor Day weekend, Ozzie our mild 50-pound pitbull who rarely makes a sound, began barking for no reason. It was my lovely three-day weekend, but it was only lovely for one day. Ozzie kept barking urgently at nothing all day on Sunday and Monday. I thought I’d figured out the reason when my husband finally removed a smelly pot from the back porch on Tuesday, but that wasn't it. Ozzie was calm during Bob’s two days off, but resumed his high-strung, annoying behavior on my next day off with him.

So this was the pattern: Ozzie became nervous and barky with me, but not when Bob was home. For the next week, Ozzie stayed on edge with me, day or night. It would happen both inside and on walks, so it wasn't about the apartment. I felt sure his tension was about me.

We’d be peacefully sitting on the sofa, when Ozzie would suddenly prick up his ears, listen for a few seconds and then launch into a barking fit. He'd pace from room to room, growling and sounding off ferociously at an invisible invader or maybe noise I couldn't hear. If I managed to calm him down, he'd recline with his head up, sniffing, sniffing. Once on a late-night walk, he froze, his hackles went up and he absolutely went into defense mode, growling and barking at an empty street.

I tried petting, soothing, cuddling, Bach flower remedies, the Thundershirt, Emotional Freedom Technique, music, extra snacks and his favorite radio station (WGN). He even saw the vet last week and got a clean bill of health.
At one point, I decided that each time he barked, I'd leave the room and close the door on him. After I abandoned him like this few times, he stopped barking, but then he sat next to me and trembled for about 20 minutes. I couldn't believe it. Was our dog picking up on some disease I had? Did he see Death following me?
Finally one of my friends talked about my Ozzie problem to a friend of hers who works with energy. I’m an atheist, but I’m fascinated and delighted by the possibility of things existing that science hasn’t proven yet. This is what she “got” when she muscle-tested about Ozzie. I knew it: the Grim Reaper was following me around!

She tested the statement: Ozzie is high strung and nervous. She received the answer YES
Then she tested the question: Is he nervous around Bob?  She received the answer No
Is he nervous around Regina?  YES
Does he detect illness in Regina?  No
Does he detect something in her body?  No
Does he detect something in her energy field?  YES
Does he detect low vibration?  No
Does he detect an entity?  YES
Does this entity have a name?  No
Is there anything we should know about it?  No
May I speak to Regina's spirit?  Yes
Do you have an entity in your energy field?  Yes
Do you want us to remove it?  Yes
Beings of light, please remove this entity from Regina's energy field now.  Have you?  Yes
Is Regina's energy field 100% free of entities?  Yes
Is Ozzie nervous around Regina?  NO

The next time I was home alone with the dog, he stayed calm and relaxed as I read on the sofa. Our nighttime walk was also surprisingly peaceful. I was so relieved! The barking fits seemed to be over and we had our nice, quiet pitbull back.

But we don't have our relaxed, easygoing pitbull back. This past weekend, while Bob worked (he works every weekend, morning til night), Ozzie replaced his ferocious, non-stop barking with pacing the apartment silently. He went from one room to the other, back and forth, back and forth. Finally he curled up and took a break, just to start his house check again about 10 minutes later. This went on for about an hour.

Then on Sunday, Ozzie the food-crazed shelter dog wouldn’t come into the kitchen for dinner. I rattled his dish and food around, but shockingly he stayed in the living room. I lost patience and grabbed his collar and said, “Dude, it’s dinnertime. Let’s go!” I started to lead him out of the room, but he actually dug in his paws and refused to enter the kitchen.


I lost it. I turned to my current stress releasing tool: Emotional Freedom Technique. I tapped on:

I never wanted a dog in the first place
This dog is crazy
What is he freaking out about?
Is he seeing things or is there a gas leak somewhere?
This dog is a wackjob, freakout, nutcase of an animal and I've had it!

After several minutes of tapping on the idea of peace, I managed to calm down a bit, but not all the way. Ozzie just watched me go through this, shouting at him most of the time as I tapped. He stays remarkably calm when I'm the one getting worked up. Afterwards, he still wouldn't enter the kitchen, so I said, "Fine, don't eat. I'm going back to watching TV."

I tried again an hour later and he finally came into the kitchen, but for the first time he actually stopped eating in the middle and went back to the living room. This was unprecedented. Ozzie has never walked away from a partially full food bowl. A couple of minutes later he came back and finished, but what the hell? And of course, all this behavior went away when Bob came home.

If you believe in the law of attraction, you might say I drew this (wackjob) dog to me because he's my perfect mirror. If you believe in God, you might say God sent (crazy) Ozzie to be the source of my salvation. If you’re a New Age believer, you might say the universe is teaching me lessons and making me a better person through this (freakout of a) dog.

But I know it's a godless, random world and stuff just happens. Was I followed by an entity that Ozzie continues to watch for? Is our kitchen haunted? Or the explanation might be the simplest: someone reminded me that the building next door just started renting over the summer. Maybe Ozzie's freaked out by the new occupants who now live practically outside our windows. But that doesn't explain why he stays on edge when we take walks together. Another friend points out the old folklore connection between black dogs and the supernatural.

All I know is that Ozzie's odd behavior started on Sunday, September 2nd, and I'm ready for it to end. 

Update: Ozzie's weird behavior ended by September 24th. See my post Pet Psychic for a possible explanation of all this.

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